Yes, I realize that Bossypants is not technically fiction. It is also no secret that I love Tina Fey. She’s a woman writer’s idol – funny, smart, talented, and successful. When I was looking for a new audiobook to listen to, Bossypants came up and I decided it would be a great quick listen. Composed of a selection of essays, Fey’s autobiographical book gives you a look into her career and her role as a working woman. And, as she so poignantly states, teaches parents how to raise nerdy daughters just like her (see quote):
“Let’s review the cost-free techniques that we’ve learned so far for raising an achievement-oriented, obedient, drug-free, virgin adult: Calamity, Praise, Local Theater, and flat feet. Another key element is ‘Strong Father Figure/ Fear Thereof.’”
I do not read a lot of memoirs, because they are mostly sad portraits of lives that have been filled with far too much pain. Or the author paints them that way so that they appear more interesting. What I liked about Fey’s essays is that they were in no real chronological order, and while her life may have involved some social awkwardness, she has always looked on that with humor. At least in the book. One of the anecdotes that stuck out to me in particular was her recount of her disastrous honeymoon. She and her husband opted to go for a cruise, as he is afraid of flying. So they boarded a Caribbean cruise in New York and headed south. Except the cruise ship caught fire somewhere amongst the islands and they ended up having to fly home. She points out that while she and her husband were in the women-first, men-behind set-up with life jackets, all she could feel was how terrible it would be to leave him behind. He later tells her that he knew she would choose to stay with him. This is followed by Fey explaining (to her brand-new husband) that if Rose had just gotten on to that lifeboat in “Titanic”, Jack could have had the scrap board all to himself and survived. Thus it makes perfect sense that yes, she would have gotten in that life boat without her husband with her. This kind of intelligent wit is why I love listening to Fey.
For those that are “30 Rock” fans, you get to learn about the beginnings of the show, how it got made in the first place (Alec Baldwin) and how it’s still on the air (Alec Baldwin). Her honesty about the business of television and the behind-the-scenes information is extremely interesting. If you appreciate Fey more for her on-cue Sarah Palin impression, there is a lot on how that came about in there, too.
Every piece is hilarious enough that I was, quite literally, laughing out loud in my car listening. Fey’s full-acknowledgement of her short-comings and lucky breaks are also refreshing. You don’t feel like this is someone who is lying to you or who really cares if you hate her for what she says. She just wants to say it and be honest about it. In today’s show business industry, that is a really uncommon find.
All in all, a great listen but it goes by far too quickly. I got to the end thinking, “Wait, why isn’t there more?” If you love a laugh and are particularly a fan of Fey’s brand of comedy, this is an excellent choice. Even better, if you listen to the audiobook it’s narrated by Fey herself and includes the audio of her first sketch as Sarah Palin. It’s still funny several years later.
Fey’s book does have some colorful language, so bear that in mind before you read.
Audiobook Rating: 9/10